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Same grain, different year. - 88%

hells_unicorn, February 16th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Century Media Records

When a band has spent the better part of 5 years honing and developing a sound that results in a very well received debut album, the next step involves a highly consequential fork in the road with two obvious choices, namely get busy creating using the same winning formula or try to anticipate a new formula catching on based on existing trends. Following Grave's highly consequential offering to the early Swedish death metal scene in 1991, they opted for the former approach, which makes a strong degree of sense given that the Swedish scene was still fairly young and there was little going on in the way of drastic stylistic evolution. A little less than a year to the date of their debut hitting shelves, these mad Swedes rolled out a near equally formidable yet also extremely predictable follow up in You'll Never See... that does all but function as a perfect mirror reflection of Into The Grave.

To be clear, every single has a certain degree of development and even some contrast relative to its predecessor, and this album does have an identity of its own despite minimal stylistic change occurring. A good analogy when comparing this album to Grave's stellar debut, while obviously not perfect, would be the Leprosy to their Scream Bloody Gore, and to a small extent also their South Of Heaven to their Reign In Blood. Though still quite thrashing and fast, there is a greater degree of slower breaks in the mayhem with haunting dissonance that paints most of these songs, which are individually a tad bit longer in length, and the tone is just a tad bit murkier and muddier, ergo a bit closer to what is now generally regarded as death metal removed from its thrash roots. Truth be told, the only thing that has not been varied at all is J├Ârgen's deep and nasty barks, which lean a bit closer to the NYDM degree of auditory inhumanity.

Perhaps the only real thing that somewhat holds these songs back when compared with the frenetic goodness of Into The Grave is that there is just a tad bit more repetition than needed. Some of this is mitigated by a greater level of spoken sections and lyrical additives to avoid outright monotony, and there are a few key moments where atmospheric keyboards are employed to an effect somewhat comparable to what occurs on Death's Human and Darkthrone's Soulside Journey, but it is still noticeable. Then again, this reliance on repetition tends to work fairly well on certain songs, such as the mildly Cannibal Corpse sounding bruiser of a final song "Christi(ns)anity" and its even more thick and trudging cousin "Severing Flesh", both of which have a sort of twisted melodic sense to the riff work at times. Interestingly enough, while still fairly frenzied and Kerry King oriented, the lead guitar work has taken on a bit more of an atmospheric relationship with the rest of the music, and often takes a slightly more tactful approach of building to a massive explosion of notes.

Generally this album will tend to be either dismissed or downplayed because it didn't really expand the horizons of the sub-genre, but considering that Death's Human and Nocturnus' early offerings were only just starting to play around at the fringes of the style a year or two before, and that the brutality of bands like Immolation and Deicide were perhaps only slightly greater than what is found here, it is quite unfair to retroactively minimize it. It definitely falls more into the tried and true category of death metal, but insofar as sheer potency and competency are concerned within the framework of old school death metal, this is an extremely impressive display of aggression. Innovation is arguably an overrated thing when considering where this band and many others in the Stockholm scene would end up in the years following this.